Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/17/12
The Dodgers are the talk of baseball with their 9-1 start, the best record in Major League Baseball and their best start in 31 seasons. The Dodgers beat up on the Padres (6-1 in seven games) and Pirates (three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium), two teams that combined for only a .441 winning percentage last season. But manager Don Mattingly doesn't look at last year's records. "Early in the year, it's tough to win games because it doesn't matter what people think you're supposed to be," Mattingly said. "Last year, the Diamondbacks, who were in last place the year before, they win the division. "The year before that the Padres, nobody counted on them and they were in it until the last day." The Dodgers hope for a similar turnaround after a mediocre 162-161 record over the last two seasons. But their early success can be traced to 2011 as well. The Dodgers were 12 games under .500 as late as last Aug. 21, but won 25 of their final 35 games to end their year on a high note. Couple that with their hot start to 2012 and the Dodgers are 34-11 in their last 45 games. Matt Kemp, the driving force behind the hot start, hitting .487 with six home runs and 16 RBI through 10 games, sees the current trend continuing. "This whole year, we're going to be hard to beat," Kemp said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing." The Dodgers face a test this week with a trip to Milwaukee to battle the Brewers, a playoff team last year, but then also travel to Houston to play the lowly Astros, so perhaps the hot start can be extended a bit further. The last time the Dodgers started start 9-1 was in 1981, and that team ended up winning the World Series. While it is too early to tell if the same future in is store for the 2012 Dodgers, their start certainly turned many heads. NOTES, QUOTES Kemp and Ethier have driven Dodgers' early success --CF Matt Kemp and RF Andre Ethier are both off to hot starts, as each All-Star outfielder has driven in at least one run in eight of their 10 games. Kemp (16 RBI) and Ethier (15 RBI) have the second and third most runs batted in through 10 team games in Dodgers' franchise history, trailing only Roy Campanella, who drove in 17 runs in the first 10 games of the 1953 season. --SS Dee Gordon had two stolen bases on Sunday, his second multi-steal game of the season. Gordon leads the major leagues with seven stolen bases, and has 31 steals in 66 career games. --C A.J. Ellis has a .419 on-base percentage, second on the team to CF Matt Kemp among regulars, despite a .217 batting average. Ellis has eight walks in eight games this season, tied for fifth in the major leagues in bases on balls. --Dodgers starting pitchers through 10 games are 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA, with 62 strikeouts in 57 13 innings. --The Dodgers are 5-0 in one-run games this season after going 23-21 in such games in 2011. BY THE NUMBERS: 97 -- The number of home runs CF Matt Kemp is on pace to hit, after hitting six home runs in his first 10 games. QUOTE TO NOTE: "My gosh. It's their opening game of the season and here they are saluting an announcer. I'm just another guy, the most ordinary person you ever met." -- Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, in his record 63rd season with the club, on seeing the Dodger Stadium crowd salute him while he watched the home opener from home because of a bad cold.
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